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Berlusconi survives again
Libri su Berlusconi -

Added on January 14, 2011
The Italian Constitutional Court has ruled yesterday that the immunity law, adopted by the current coalition in March 2010 to grant immunity to Prime Ministry Berlusconi, violates the constitution. Berlusconi will have to face the judges in three cases involving bribery of a key witness and tax fraud. The Constitutional Court also ruled that three referendums pushed forward by Antonio Di Pietro's IDV will be submitted to the voters, one regarding the immunity law, which is strange in the sense that the court already ruled that the immunity law is partly unconstitutional.

Added on December 16, 2010 at 11:21 Italian time

The four House members Silvano Moffa (who had abstained from voting), Giampiero Catone, Catia Polidori and Maria Grazia Siliquini, who had voted against their party and for the Berlusconi government, have left Fini's FLI party and joined the Gruppo Misto (which means that they are without party affiliation).

Added on December 15, 2010 at 09:03 Italian time
Another unexpected vote for Berlusconi came from Antonio Razzi. He was elected on the list of the party Italia dei Valori (IDV) into the Italian House of Representatives (Camera) by the Italians living in Switzerland. The IDV is headed by the former Mani Pulite prosecutor Antonio di Pietro, the arch-enemy of Berlusconi. In that light, it is even stranger that Antonio Razzi suddenly discovered his love for the Italian government (in December 2010, Razzi had switched from IDV to the party Noi Sud).

Article added on December 14, 2010 at 19:29 Italian time  
After the September no-confidence vote, the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has survived another motion of no-confidence. In the late morning, as expected, the Senate gave the government its support with 162 yes, 136 no and 11 abstentions. Even after the defection of his ally of 16 years, Gianfranco Fini, Berlusconi had retained a majority in the Senate.

In the House of Representatives (Camera), the situation was very different. On paper, the government had lost its majority. A lot of horse-trading had taken place before the vote. People had been promised posts in the cabinet, secure places on the next electoral list, contracts with the government or companies owned by Berlusconi. Rumors circulated that up to €500,000 very offered for a vote; Silvio Berlusconi is a multi-billionaire. The former judge Antonio di Pietro of the opposition party Italia dei Valori said in parliament that he had given information (facts, circumstances and names) about the buying of votes to the Roman district attorney / prosecutor.

Whatever the truth to this new Italian saga, in the end, Silvio Berlusconi's government survived the no-confidence motion in the House with 314 to 311 votes.

The narrow victory was made possible thanks to several defections from oppositional politicians.

Catia Polidori of Gianfranco Fini's newly created FLI party had stated on December 2 that she would not vote for Berlusconi, but by December 14, she had changed her mind and voted in support of the current government.

Maria Grazia
Siliquini (FLI) explained her unexpected support for Berlusconi with the words that nothing had changed since the September no-confidence vote, where she and the rest of the Fini group had supported the government. Maria Grazia Siliquini also announced her intention to join Berlusconi's PLD again.

On December 12 already,
Silvano Moffa (FLI) had distanced himself from Gianfranco Fini. He abstained from voting.

In short, December 14 turned out to be a day of personal defeat for Gianfranco Fini, who could not count on the support of all members of his newly formed FLI.

Berlusconi's narrow victory was also made possibly thanks to defections from other oppositional parties. Antonio Gaglione (a former member of the social-democratic PD, who later became a member of the party Noi Sud), abstained from voting. Unlike Silvano Moffa, no trace of him could be found today in the House of Representatives (Palazzo Montecitorio).

Three further crucial defections came from the brand new opposition party Movimento di Responsabilità Nazionale, founded on December 9, 2010 by the three members of the House Cesario, Caleari and Scilipoti.

Massimo Calearo had been a member of the social-democratic PD since 2009. When the left-leaning Pier Luigi Bersani took over the party, Calearo left the PD and was without party affiliation (in Italy called Gruppo Misto). Domenico Scilipoti from Sicily used to be a member of the party Italia dei Valori of the former prosecutor Antonio Di Pietro, an arch-enemy of Silvio Berlusconi. In December 2010, Scilipoti left the party and was withouth party-affiliation. Bruno Cesario was another member of the PD until 2009, when he left because of Pier Luigi Bersani taking over the PD. Cesario left the PD for the API, a party run by the centrist politician Francesco Rutelli.

Cesario, Calearo and Scilipoti created a new party and voted for Berlusconi's government. It would not come as a surprise if they were integrated into the prime minister's cabinet or ended up on secure spots on the electoral list of Berlusconi's PLD, as may happen with the three defectors from Fini's FLI mentioned above.

As unfit as Silvio Berlusconi is to lead the government, as unfit is the opposition to come up with an alternative leader and an alternative coalition. Berlusconi's narrow win does not secure him peace. His coalition could falter at any moment. More fun is to come at a time when Italy's debt has reached 118% of GDP. Italy's agony, both politically and economically, will continue.

 Giuseppe Verdi sheet music - Libri su Berlusconi -

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